Improve Casino Internal Communication By Learning What Not to Do

There are many resources available today to help casinos improve their internal communication, but the best lessons are often learned from knowing what not to do.

Most casino executives would agree that effective internal communication is one of the most important factors in maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage.  Typically, casinos get help with learning how to polish their communication.  But much can be learned from knowing what to avoid.

I suggest casinos steer clear of the following communication pitfalls.

Do Not Say “Yes” to E-Mail.  E-mail is often perceived as a productive and convenient form of communication, although it may take five e-mails to complete the task of one five-minute phone call.  E-mail may be more comfortable for casino employees to use, but it often clouds the waters and creates confusion.  E-mail communication lacks the auditory and visual cues that help the recipient understand the message’s context.  E-mail also eliminates opportunities for feedback and idea sharing.  When you have a question, concern or comment, pick up the phone.

Mouth Says “Yes” but Eyes Say “No.”  Do not rely on words alone in communication.  Body language must be consistent with your message or you will undoubtedly give the wrong impression.  Body language, including facial expressions, helps clarify and create effective communication.  When you are discussing an issue with a colleague, meeting with your executive team or presenting at a gaming conference, relax, speak carefully and slowly and make eye contact to assure your message is understood.

Aren’t We On the Same Page?  Never assume that communication has happened.  It is vital that the speaker and listener ask questions and gain feedback to confirm mutual understanding.  Also, do not rely on jargon to highlight your communication.

The Department of Redundancy Department.  Redundant communication fails to produce desirable results.  It is not productive to state your message over and over.  Your listener will most assuredly become confused and have no idea what you’re trying to say.  Once it is said, put it to bed.  Listeners will thank you.

“Blamestorming.”  “Blamestorming” is a common occurrence that is completely ineffective.  A meeting is called and everyone knows it won’t be pretty.  Your casino’s guest feedback is negative and revenues are down,  no ideas will be shared and no strategies will be formed.  It is simply a gathering to discuss shortfalls.  “Blamestorming” creates hard feelings, discourages communication and damages employee morale.  Maintaining an environment of open communication, acceptance and active participation will lead your casino to greater success and give employees the motivation to excel.

Miscommunication is an unfortunate byproduct of common business practices that are inappropriate, overused or completely ineffective.  Whether it’s excessive use of e-mail, failure to gain feedback or perpetual use of meetings to spread negative energy, there are a remarkable number of lessons to be learned in observing communication strategies and learning what not to do.

Martin R. Baird
Robinson & Associates, Inc.